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  • Ron Davidson

Ontario invests in Kawartha Lakes manufacturers to boost regional economy

REBECCA BOZZATO, Office of Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario government is supporting investment of nearly $5.5 million by three companies in Eastern Ontario to help strengthen local manufacturing, create jobs, attract investment and boost regional economic recovery. The province is investing nearly $633,000 through the Regional Development Program, which will help create 20 jobs.

“The Regional Development Program continues to support local manufacturers through targeted investments that allow businesses to create good local jobs,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We thank Kawartha Metals, Colonial Concepts Log & Timberframe and Bélair Mechatronics for making a significant impact in their communities and for contributing to our province’s dynamic and growing manufacturing sector.”

Kawartha Metals Corp. in Peterborough is investing nearly $3.28 million in new, top-line equipment to expand its range of products and provide more value-added services to its growing customer base. The company is a supplier of steel, aluminum, brass, and plastics material in over 5,000 different sizes and grades and works with a wide range of customers, including manufacturers, fabricators and contractors.

With Ontario’s investment of $327,650 from the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF), Kawartha Metals will create 12 jobs. Through this project, the company will create an innovative manufacturing space in its new facility in Peterborough and strengthen its regional supply chain.

“As a result of EODF funding, Kawartha Metals was able to purchase and install a Voortman high-definition plasma structural steel robotic plasma machine capable of processing nearly any kind of shape that needs to be produced. The robotic thermal profile cutting system can reach all four sides of the material with exceptional speed and accuracy,” said Tom Elliott, President of Kawartha Metals Corp. “This created new jobs and improved processes to make Kawartha Metals more competitive in Ontario and for the manufacturers that export globally that we supply to.”

In Lindsay, Colonial Log & Timber Inc. (Colonial Concepts Log & Timberframe) manufactures log and timber framing components. The company is investing more than $1.3 million to fully automate its manufacturing process to gain efficiencies and double production from 25 to 50 home kits per year to meet customer demand. With Ontario’s investment of $195,252 from the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, Colonial Concepts Log & Timberframe will create three jobs. The company expects to better compete and access new global markets with the increased production capacity.

“This funding has given Colonial Concepts Log & Timberframe the opportunity to purchase a 6-axis Hundegger machine to help evolve our family business and become more automated,” said Ken Moore, CEO of Colonial Concepts Log & Timberframe. “We will become more efficient, which will allow us to expand more into the international market, creating a greater number of projects and business, thus opening up more job opportunities in our company.”

Bélair Mechatronics Inc. (Kawartha Controls) in Omemee designs and manufactures hydraulic manifolds, other fluid power components and robotic auxiliary equipment. The company is investing $901,000 in new equipment and robotics to scale up its smart manufacturing processes and increase production to meet growing demand. This project will also help Bélair Mechatronics to develop manufacturing process innovations, such as software and robotics accessories, for future growth opportunities. With Ontario’s investment of $110,000 from the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, five jobs will be created.

“This funding enabled us to start the process of scaling our business and put us in a good position at the start of the pandemic to maintain that momentum,” said Rob Bélair, CEO of Bélair Mechatronics. “Over the past two years, we have created 15+ high-value jobs for our local economy, successfully attracted top talent to relocate to the area and created opportunities for our team members to advance their skill set and gain valuable experience in an advanced manufacturing environment.”

“Investing in local companies is critical to help grow our rural economy by increasing employment close to home and contributing to our recovery from the pandemic,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. “Our government knows how important the manufacturing sector is to local economies, and that’s why we’re making investments like these to bring back industrial jobs communities rely on.”

Ontario invests more than $100 million through the Regional Development Program from 2019 to 2023 to support distinct regional priorities and challenges. The program provides cost-shared funding to businesses, municipalities and economic development organizations to help local communities attract investment, diversify their economies, and create jobs.

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